Becoming Fully Yourself, What AI Wants, Family Rituals & Rites of Passage with Kevin Kelly

Show Notes

A large part of my personal motivation for creating this podcast — is the privilege of speaking with those who I consider to be elders, those who have lived their lives to the absolute fullest and have stories and insights to share with younger generations about what it means to truly live well.

And this conversation with Kevin Kelly turned out to be exactly that. You'll probably want to have a pen and paper handy to take notes, and it was so rich with practical wisdom — in part because that was the subject of Kevin's new book — called 'Excellent Advice for Living'

Some of the pieces that resonated most with me were:
- How his curiosity and obsession with tinkering & making things paved the way for his later career
- Why giving your time away is by far that's the most valuable thing that you can offer
- The immense value in designing family rituals and rites of passage
- Why he believes that AI will eventually want to have an identity and a name and will act as a forcing function to propel us forward — like children do, to be better than we would have been
- Finally, why we should attend as many funerals as possible — and endeavor to become fully ourselves

⏳ Timestamps

[00:05:07] Thoreau and the Whole Earth catalog were influential in shaping the interviewee's passion for inventing their own life and stripping down to the minimum to achieve contentment. Thoreau was a mentor and hero while Stuart Brand was a greater influence.

[00:09:15] Deep listening means trying to hear what's unsaid, not just focusing on responding. It involves being affected by what's being said, not just hearing it like a recorder. Many people don't truly listen and miss out on understanding.

[00:13:08] The worthiest projects take five years to complete, but prototyping is important too, and only one five-year project should be focused on at a time. Anything worthwhile should be accounted for as a five-year project.

[00:17:14] Textual content is created as reminders of timeless wisdom from past philosophers and religions. Advice includes putting things back where they were found and deciding not to be outraged for a day. These reminders are short and condensed, meant to be easily remembered and applied.

[00:20:50] Invest in a donor appointed fund that grows and can be given to high leverage charities, which teach people to fish rather than just giving a fish. Volunteering and donating time is the most precious thing to give.

[00:25:19] Parents celebrate their kids' coming-of-age at 21 with a small ceremony where they cut a symbolic cord, give them their last check, and allow them to drink legally. The event sometimes includes wagers or promises, and kids add their own innovative participation. One child ate paper with advice written on it.

[00:30:30] Create family rituals to provide stability, consistency, and a sense of anticipation for children, which will become part of the family identity and provide comfort in adulthood.

[00:34:21] The author believes that technology has tendencies that are independent of humans, and that consciousness, sentience, and identity may be inevitable for technology. He thinks that technology may want a name.

[00:40:36] The goal is to fully become yourself with the help of others, it's a long process involving constant self-challenge and it's the key to accomplishments. Attend funerals to hear about character over achievements. The question to ask is "who do I want to become?".

[00:47:02] AI development will force us to question what we want the AI to be like, as they will carry biases and issues of average humans. It will lead to a discussion of how we can make ourselves better as well.

Official Links

Order Kevin's book 'Excellent Advice for Living'
👋  Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevin2kelly
🖥️  See Kevin's homepage and extensive bio —

Connect + Follow Jonny:

🐦  Follow on Twitter @jonnym1ller
💌  Subscribe to the Curious Humans Newsletter
🫁  Learn more about Nervous System Mastery

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Creators and Guests

Jabriel Alsuhaimi
Jabriel Alsuhaimi
Musician, podcaster and digital creative on a journey to better myself, and the people around me through creativity and constant learning.
Becoming Fully Yourself, What AI Wants, Family Rituals & Rites of Passage with Kevin Kelly
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